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I am so happy being married and living with my best friend. We adopted our first child, Ari, in 2011 through a domestic adoption and our second, Jude, in 2014.

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

To Congo or Not to Congo

That is the question. The question that runs through my head over and over again all day long.

International adoption in DRC is very messy right now. The DGM there issues Exit Letters. An adopted child cannot leave the country without receiving an exit letter. However, in September 2013 the DGM completely shut down. This happened soon after a lot of articles came out about internationally adopted children being abused and rehomed. I don't think the DGM has ever issued an official statement about why they have closed, but this is believed to be the reason.

At first it was said they would be closed for up to 6 months. No one ever imagined it would take the full 6 months for them to open again. However, it has now been 7 months and there is no end in sight. We could start the process of an adoption there...get a referral, go through court in DRC, receive visas, etc. But could we ever bring the child home? Not sure. There are actually over 100 legally adopted children stuck in the DRC right now.

We're getting to the point where our home study is about to expire, so we have to decide if we want to renew it or not. I have researched adoption for just about every other African country out there and everything seems to be a shut door. Either we don't meet the age requirements for the country or they're in the same "messy" state as DRC and it is advised to not start an adoption there.

I emailed with one of our agency workers looking for advice. She said that DRC adoptions are very risky right now. But one silver lining/thread of hope we were holding onto was that a delegation from DRC was scheduled to come to the US from April 16-26 to meet with the Department of State. Everyone was really hoping there would be more information available after that meeting. Many families who have completed DRC adoptions were even going to travel to DC at this time to show how their Congolese children are safe, healthy, and thriving. However, yesterday the Congolese authorities announced that they would no longer be traveling to the US as planned.

So that pretty much crushed my spirit and blew away any hope I had left about us starting an adoption in DRC. We still have one potential lead with another country that we're looking into. But if that doesn't pan out, I think the idea of us going through an African adoption right now is done.

It hurts me so much to even think about that. Africa is heavy on our hearts. We can't imagine not doing an African adoption. I still collect African things while dreaming of creating a nursery for my girl. The other day Ari and Jude were both in my lap and Ari was playing with my necklace which has a charm on it with a picture of Africa. He picked up that charm and said, "See Jude, that's baby sister." Tears formed in my eyes immediately. We all dream of our baby sister from Africa.

I do believe that God blessed us greatly with the timing of Jude's adoption. I just know all this news and delay with African adoptions would be so much harder to take if Ari was the only child in our life. Jude came to us at the absolute perfect time. That blessing overwhelms me.

But there's Africa...still on my heart and mind every day. Please pray for us as we try to make the decision about what the future holds for our family there. Please also keep in your prayers the children and families affected by this exit letter shutdown. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

And Baby Makes Four

Since our sweet Jude Bug is almost 4 months old, I thought it might actually be time to update this blog about him. haha!

So yes, “baby brother” was born December 12th, named Jude, and is the sweetest blessing to our family.

We arrived at the hospital around 6:00pm on December 11th. However, he was a stubborn little boy and quite comfy in the first home his birth mom created for him, so he wasn’t born until almost 12 hours later at 5:23am. We stayed in the tiny labor and deliver waiting room the whole time. And even stayed awake the whole time because he really continually kept us thinking it would be “any minute now.”

We waited together with birth mom’s family in the waiting room. I waited some with her in the delivery room. We were all in constant texting communication with each other. We met Jude for the first time right next to her. I gave him his first bottle with us all in the room together. Over the next 24-ish hours after delivery and before discharge, we had rooms next to each other and visited often. It was such a tremendous blessing to share those moments, and Jude, during that time. I will never forget it.

Before she was discharged she came to our room to say goodbye. She was crying, I was crying, I think we were all a mess. There are just no words to describe what I felt at that moment and what all was happening. Some family members were in our room at the time and one of them said that seeing that moment, he felt and knew he was standing on holy ground. I’m bawling my eyes out just typing this. It was just very special and still leaves me pretty speechless.

We feel incredibly blessed to have these sweet boys in our lives. I was just telling Mike yesterday that it’s pretty amazing that we’ve had two successful adoptions in two years. I’m not really sure how many people can say that. Adoption can be expensive, stressful, lengthy, complicated, and unsuccessful. But here we are with two boys, within two years, through two pretty easy adoptions. We are truly and abundantly blessed.

(And now get ready for picture overload.) ;)

Sweet coffee cups my mom brought us.

Sleepy, but excited, eyes around 4:00am.

Ari meeting Jude for the first time.

My sweet boys!

First family picture! This was when we had been awake for about 32 hours, so please excuse the haggard look. ;)

Headed home!

Sweet newborn picture in his superhero nursery.
© Jenny White Photography

And a recent picture of my precious boys for Valentines Day.
© Jenny White Photography